Dakota is Gone

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A farm is an ever flowing river of new life coming in and saying good-bye to a life lived long and happy. We were reminded of that this past week when our beloved Springer spaniel “Dakota” died.

We were at the State Fair when we got the news. Actually, Brianne was in the middle of the show ring when I heard, so I opted not to tell her until the next day. Knowing wouldn’t have changed anything, but it could have greatly affected her showing ability.

He died of natural causes. There was no lingering disease or injury that took him from us, just a long life lived out that was ready to come to a close. Over the past few months Dakota had begun to slow down, sleeping more and playing less. He still ate well and would occasionally roll around in the grass especially if there was someone to watch and play with him. He still followed us out to the barn and monitored the activities of the chickens and the sheep, albeit at a much slower pace than in his youth. But, his gait was that of an old man, his bark less robust.

The signs were there. I knew his time was coming. He passed away on a cool summer morning, in the shade of a potato vine that grows along our south fence. It was his favorite spot. Not a bad way to leave this world, I think.

We rescued Dakota from the pound almost 9 years ago. At his adoption, the kennel manager thought he could be 3 to 5 years old. They weren’t sure. He was a loveable, cuddle dog who loved to be with his people. He was our truck dog co-pilot and backseat driver. He loved to go everywhere in the truck. He was the watcher of our sheep and gentle around the poultry. He lived the life of a farm dog…rolling in mud, eating poop, chasing squirrels, guarding our farm, eating fresh from the garden and lying in front of a warm fire in winter.

We made a lot of great memories with that dog. He will be missed.

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